The Province of Manitoba is looking to conduct a comprehensive infrastructure review and is seeking the help of the industry for the project.
The review was announced at the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association’s (MHCA) awards breakfast, held in November 2017.
At the awards, Manitoba Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler said, “everything is on the table” and invited comment from the heavy construction industry, an MHCA January newsletter explained.
Several members of the MHCA board met with Manitoba Infrastructure Deputy Minister Bramwell Strain on Dec. 22 to discuss industry issues and determine where Manitoba’s infrastructure needed to be fixed.
All policy language should speak to investment, not spending,
— Chris Lorenc
Manitoba Heavy Construction Association
“We had a really good exchange with the deputy minister, who has good grasp of the issues and the big picture that puts investment, and especially strategic infrastructure investment, at the heart of the push for economic growth and the Pallister government’s pledge to make Manitoba the most improved jurisdiction,” said MHCA president Chris Lorenc.
“The deputy minister has pledged to make these informal meetings a routine part of his year, which we are happy to hear and will be sure to follow up on.”
Other issues raised at the meeting included the provincial government’s “Made-In-Manitoba” green plan and carbon tax, the 2018 tender schedule for Manitoba Infrastructure and the current provincial infrastructure investment deficit.
The MHCA also stressed access to aggregate deposits needed to be protected from competing land use development, as supplies are limited.
The focus for the association, Lorenc stated, is to emphasize the importance of infrastructure to economic growth.
“We advance only policy that’s in the public’s best interest,” Lorenc said.
Further, he explained, it is important that government understand the return on investment that infrastructure provides not only to the economy but also in terms of quality of life for the province’s citizens.
“All policy language should speak to investment, not spending,” he said.
Lorenc also stressed the importance of consistency in government infrastructure spending.
“We’ve said for decades that we need predictable, incremental funding. It gives us the information to plan, and it’s no different than how one would manage a major government department like education or health care,” he said.
All too often the pattern is to spend before an election and then cut back for the first two years in office.
“It starves the industry,” he said.
Lorenc also stressed funding transparency and a continual push to strive for innovation.